Archive for May 24, 2016

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Track  —  Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile oval

Race Distance  —  200 laps / 500 miles

Firestone Tire Allotment  —  36 sets for use throughout the month.

Twitter  —  @IMS @IndyCar, #Indy500, #IndyCar

Event Website  —  www.IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com

IndyCar Website  —  www.IndyCar.com

2015 Race Winner  —  Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)

2016 Verizon P1 Winner  —  James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow SP Motorsports Honda) — 230.760 mph

NBCSN Carb Day Broadcast  —  Friday, May 27 (11am ET)

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Kevin Lee will anchor NBCSN’s coverage of Indianapolis 500 final practice, the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 and TAG Heuer Pit Stop Competition. Robin Miller, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will serve as analysts with Katie Hargitt, Jon Beekhuis and Marty Snider as pit reporters.

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ABC Race Broadcast  —  Sunday, May 29 (Noon ET)

Allen Bestwick is the lead announcer for ESPN on ABC broadcasts for the second consecutive year alongside analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. Rick DeBruhl, Dr. Jerry Punch and Jon Beekhuis are the pit reporters.

Radio Broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, IndyCarRadio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile App. Verizon IndyCar Series final practice session is available on IndyCar.com, IndyCarRadio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

INDYCAR Mobile App: Verizon Wireless puts fans around the world in the driver’s seat with its INDYCAR Mobile app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR Mobile app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and includes enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; the ability to follow the race in real time with the interactive 3D track; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

AtTrack Schedule (all times local):

Friday, May 27

11 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 final practice
1:30 p.m. – TAG Heuer Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Competition

Sunday, May 29

11:38 a.m. – Driver Introductions
12:14 p.m. – Command to Start Engines
12:21 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (200 laps/500 miles), ABC (Live at 11 a.m.)

IndyCar on track for practice for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 -- Image by Mike Harding

IndyCar practice for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 — Image by Mike Harding

INDIANAPOLIS (May 23, 2016) – The drivers qualified for this year’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil got a taste for the upcoming race in practice today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

All 33 entries turned laps in the 3.5-hour session scheduled for the same time of day as the historic race on Sunday. Josef Newgarden, who will start the Indy 500 from the middle of Row 1 in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet, clocked the fastest lap today, 227.414 mph, as teams spent the bulk of the session running in packs to gain a greater understanding how their cars will perform on race day.

“Today’s the most representative day we’re going to get going into Sunday, which was great,” said Newgarden, the two-time race winner in 2015 for Ed Carpenter Racing. “Everyone in a pack together, which was great, because that’s what we need to see. To me, some guys looked good at certain points and then looked really bad at other points. I think that’s how it’s going to be on race day.”

A pair of teammates who have both won the Indianapolis 500 followed Newgarden on the speed chart. Tony Kanaan, the 2013 race winner, put the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy in second on the day at 226.393 mph. Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 champion in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy, was third at 226.339 mph.

“I’m glad we were finally able to get the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet up to speed for practice today,” said Kanaan, who will start the race on the outside of Row 6. “I’ve felt really good about my race car since the early sessions and it showed how strong the car is in race setup today on track. We made a lot of progress overnight and it helped put our qualifying run behind us. We’re 100 percent focused on the race now and just figuring out the best strategy to get back up front.”

Twenty-one-year-old Sage Karam was fourth on the list at 226.045 mph in the No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet, just ahead of Pippa Mann, the top Honda of the day at 225.833 mph in the No. 63 Susan G. Komen entry. “Due to the weather forecast later in the week, I think everyone was really trying to get their car running well in race trim,” said Karam, who will start in the middle of Row 8, “and that is what we were trying to do today, too. We worked on fuel numbers, pit stops and many things. I think we have a good baseline moving into Carb Day and the race.”

For Pippa Mann, it was the first occasion to log significant laps – she completed 116 – since crashing in qualifying Saturday and seeing minimal track time before qualifying on the inside of Row 9 Sunday. With only the one-hour practice remaining Friday on Miller Lite Carb Day, Mann needed the track time.

“This was like Carb Day on steroids because we were out there doing it for (nearly) four hours,” Mann said. “Nobody wants to go out there and tear up a race car this close to race day, for sure. It was pretty hairy out there, but that’s representative of what it will be like in the race. “In the race, when you have that many cars in a group, you won’t be able to run fast times. You’ll have to use all the gears and occasionally use the brakes. I know that sounds weird here. It gets really interesting and difficult and you are reacting to what everyone is doing, not just what your car is doing.”

A total of 2,886 laps were completed today, the most of any day since the track opened May 16 in a session that was 2.5 hours shorter than most other days. Nine drivers ran more than 100 laps each, led by Carlos Munoz (No. 26 United Fiber & Data Honda) and Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) with 117 apiece.

The 100th Indianapolis 500 is the 6th of 16 races on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Coverage of the epic event begins at 11am ET Sunday on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Pit Stop Competition

The field for the TAG Heuer Pit Stop Competition on Miller Lite Carb Day was announced today.

Pit crews eligible to participate are: No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet (with driver Juan Pablo Montoya), No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet (Helio Castroneves), No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda (James Hinchcliffe), No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda (Mikhail Alehsin), No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (Scott Dixon), No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda (Takuma Sato), No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda (Graham Rahal), No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet (Sage Karam), No. 26 United Fiber & Data Honda (Carlos Munoz), No. 28 DHL Honda (Ryan Hunter-Reay), No. 42 Tresiba Chevrolet (Charlie Kimball) and the honorary crew for No. 61 PIRTEK Team Murray (Matt Brabham).

The bracket will be set by a draw Thursday. 

Indy Lights Testing

Zach Veach became the first driver in Indy Lights history to turn an unofficial lap of more than 200 miles per hour on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval during today’s open test session.

He was clocked at 201.455 mph in the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing entry. Official lap records may only be set in qualifying or the race.

 James Hinchcliffe pulls on the track for his Pole winning run for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 - Photo by Chris Owens.jpg

James Hinchcliffe pulls out on the track for his Pole winning qualification laps for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 — Image by  Chris Owens

Drama, redemption, heartbreak, exuberance.

Armed Forces Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway had it all as starting positions were set for the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

James Hinchcliffe, who nearly lost his life at the same track a year ago in a crash during Indianapolis 500 practice, put together a scintillating four-lap run of 230.760 mph as the final driver of the day in the Fast Nine Shootout. It allowed the Canadian fan favorite to claim the Verizon P1 Award and $100,000 prize for earning the pole position and the right to lead the 33-car field to the green flag to start the epic race May 29.

Driving the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, Hinchcliffe collected the first pole of his Verizon IndyCar Series career in what will be his 79th race, edging Josef Newgarden for the honor by a mere 0.0407 of a second over the 10-mile run.

“I came into this month hoping we’d have a new story to talk about after what happened last year and I think we did it,” an emotional Hinchcliffe said on pit lane. “I can’t believe it. I’m honestly at a loss for words, which everyone knows is rare for me.

“The Arrow Electronics car was an absolute smoke show out there. It was right on the edge. (Lead engineer) Allen McDonald and all my engineers did such a great job, everybody at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson put me in the car and gave me the car to do it. Three Schmidt Peterson cars (qualifying) in the top 10 is incredible.”

It is the first Indianapolis 500 pole position for manufacturer Honda in five years, also with Schmidt Peterson and then-driver Alex Tagliani, and first since Chevrolet re-entered the series as an engine manufacturer in 2012. It also ended Team Penske’s string of seven consecutive pole positions in all Verizon IndyCar Series races and is Honda’s first in series competition since the second race of the Houston doubleheader in June 2014, 31 races ago and again with Schmidt Peterson.

“It’s incredible. It’s five years to the day that we did this with Tagliani,” team co-owner Sam Schmidt said. “For the 100th running, we’ve put an effort into this since last September. It’s been an all-around team effort. Obviously, I can’t turn a wrench, but my god, the things that happened today!”

Newgarden, in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, was second with a run of 230.700 mph, with 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay third at 230.648 in the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport. “It was a tough pill to swallow,” Newgarden said. “I try to remind myself it’s not just about today’s battle, it’s about the war, and we’ve got to try and get that done next week in the 500. But it was still a lot of fun, just to be up there and have this opportunity to compete.”

The second row was filled by a pair of Andretti Autosport drivers, Townsend Bell (fourth) and Carlos Munoz (fifth), along with Team Penske’s Will Power (sixth). Qualifying in Row 3 were Hinchcliffe’s teammate Mikhail Aleshin (seventh) and a pair of Penske drivers, season points leader Simon Pagenaud (eighth) and three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves (ninth).

In the qualifying session prior to the Fast Nine Shootout that set the 10th through 33rd starting positions, Oriol Servia rebounded from a disappointing effort Saturday to collect the fastest four-lap run of the group and earn the 10th spot with an average speed of 229.060 mph in the No. 77 Lucas Oil Special Honda for Schmidt Peterson with Marotti Racing. Servia improved his lot 14 positions from first-day qualifications, but said it wasn’t easy. “We struggled (Saturday). We have a very fast car, but we just couldn’t balance it for four laps,” said Servia, whose best finish in seven previous Indy 500 starts was fourth in 2012. “This morning, we put more downforce in it and we still couldn’t balance it. We couldn’t put four laps together. They were scratching their heads (and made changes) and it worked. I had a fantastic car for four laps.”

Scott Dixon, the 2015 Indy 500 pole sitter and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, qualified 13th (227.991 mph) after his crew was forced to make an engine change in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in just 64 minutes between practice and the qualifying session. “We had an engine issue this morning and Team Target and the other CGR teams changed it all out and got us ready for qualifying in just over an hour,” Dixon said. “That is absolutely unheard of. This is truly why this is a team sport. I obviously didn’t pick up a wrench today and they probably liked it that way, knowing my mechanical skills. “INDYCAR would not have let us in qualifying if we didn’t get the car ready in time and we would have started dead last. Given the situation and what we went through today as a team I’m pleased.”

Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya was permitted to make a second qualifying attempt today after running over a large plastic garbage bag on his first try. The driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy will start 17th after a run of 227.684 mph. “I saw (the bag) on the grass and I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s odd’ and when I came to Turn 3 it was in the middle of the groove,” Montoya said. “I had nowhere to go. I just hit it and lost all of the front air from under the car. It just went straight. I got on the brakes, trying not to hit the wall. Luckily, we got another run, but they didn’t let us check the car. I think the wing or something bent with the force of the bag.”

Tagliani will start the race 33rd after crashing his No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Special Honda for AJ Foyt Racing as he exited Turn 4 to take the green flag for his qualifications attempt. Per Rule 8.4.4.5 of the rulebook, he will start at the rear of the field. “It really caught me off guard because it really happened late into the corner, like almost at the exit of Turn 4,” Tagliani said. “I was really almost at the straightaway and that’s why I got caught because, normally when I get loose early on, I have a chance to catch it. It’s really unfortunate.”

Field of 33 for the 100th running features 6 former winners (Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Dixon, Montoya, Tony Kanaan and Buddy Lazier) and 5 rookies (Matt Brabham, Max Chilton, Spencer Pigot, Alexander Rossi and Stefan Wilson)

Indy 500 starting lineup 5-22_edited-2

One more practice session remains, the traditional Miller Lite Carb Day practice from 11 a.m.-noon Friday. The legendary 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is set for May 29, with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

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